30th Annual

Schedule | Recordings | Previous winners | Rules | How to enter | Venue & Visitor Information | Contact | About Us

Boston | Chicago | Los Angeles | New York | Pacific NorthWest | San Francisco | Mid Atlantic |

The Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival is the premier American showcase for vocal harmony music. The annual national competition draws from hundreds of vocal groups from around the country with regional competitions in eight cities. The winning group from each festival is flown to perform in front of celebrity judges and a sold out house of enthusiastic a cappella fans at the National Finals.

2014 National Champions


WOMEN OF THE WORLD

Women of the World is an international ensemble of musicians representing 9 countries. Honoring global folk traditions, their repertoire spans music in 21 languages. In many ways, the ensemble is a microcosm of the world, with members working closely together, not just to create and perform music, but also learning about each other's countries, cultures, languages, beliefs and practices. Over the years, Women of the World has received accolades and collaborated with many renowned artists including Bobby McFerrin, Angelique Kidjo, Mario Frangoulis, and the Boston Pops Orchestra led by Maestro Keith Lockhart. With tours in Japan and North America, including performances at the Blue Note Jazz Club, Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, BeanTown Jazz Festival, TEDxBoston, and United Nations events, Women of the World strives to engage in, and support peace building efforts, and other movements that help foster unity amidst the rich diversity that surrounds us

2014 Results

1st
Women of the World
2nd
The Quintessential Five
3rd
Sea Note
Audience Favorite
Women of the World
Best Original Arrangement
"Heaven" arr. Grayson Villanueva - #FOURTY4B
Best Original Song
"Tales of War" - Buka Kartosia - Quintessential Five

See photos - Set List - Read a review


2014 Performers

San Francisco

PRIME TIME

The members of Prime Time met through singing with other groups. They recognized they had kindred voices, natural blend, and the same desire to sing challenging, tightly harmonized charts - and also the inclination to laugh a LOT while working hard. Their backgrounds range from vocal jazz to collegiate-style a cappella pop to barbershop, with those influences all audible simultaneously in most of their performances. A literal garage band, Prime Time rehearses in Sunnyvale, CA, and performs all over the Bay Area.

Members: Jennifer Ayre, Caia Brookes, Miya Kanzaki, Dan McQuigg, Wil Mathews, John Rae-Grant


Boston

Women of the World is an international ensemble of musicians representing 9 countries. Honoring global folk traditions, their repertoire spans music in 21 languages. In many ways, the ensemble is a microcosm of the world, with members working closely together, not just to create and perform music, but also learning about each other's countries, cultures, languages, beliefs and practices. Over the years, Women of the World has received accolades and collaborated with many renowned artists including Bobby McFerrin, Angelique Kidjo, Mario Frangoulis, and the Boston Pops Orchestra led by Maestro Keith Lockhart. With tours in Japan and North America, including performances at the Blue Note Jazz Club, Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, BeanTown Jazz Festival, TEDxBoston, and United Nations events, Women of the World strives to engage in, and support peace building efforts, and other movements that help foster unity amidst the rich diversity that surrounds us.

Members: Ayumi Ueda, Annette Philip, Giorgia Renosto, Deborah Pierre


Chicago

3AM

3AM or Three Angels' Message is a new and exciting group of musician song stylists committed to expressing the good news of God's desire to establish an intimate relationship with all of His children. These talented and innovative musicians are creating music that expresses their commitment to God, family, and community, while sharing God's message of love and forgiveness. Based in Florida, these servants of the Lord bring forth their joyous message through their unique musical style that incorporates traditional gospel, A cappella, R&B, Jazz, Neo-Soul and Contemporary Christian music. They strive to exemplify Christian living in the light of the Lord and seek to share that light, though their music, with all those who cross their paths on their journey to everlasting life!

Members: Mark Jenkins, Roger Mike, Christopher McGill, Jeffrey Henderson, Micheal Medina, Kelvin Mitchell


Los Angeles

#FOURTY4B - We sing smooth, soulful, & feel-good a cappella. It all started in the living room of a little apartment, wanting to sing. Combining our different music backgrounds and styles, we formed an a cappella group named after our apartment number. We laugh, we dance, & we play because expression is our shared passion. We are #FOURTY4B."

Members:  Monica Mandapat (Soprano), Jeanette Mañgilit (Mezzo Soprano), Cara Blaxton (Alto), Jin Puertollano (Tenor), Grayson Villanueva (Baritone), Amer Quilala (Bass), James Moore (VP)


Catatonic is a vibrant new group erupting onto the a cappella scene. With members hailing from from three different collegiate groups in the Atlanta area, this up-and-coming ensemble fuses youthful energy with musical virtuosity to create a unique electronic a cappella sound. The group's innovative arrangements showcase its members' vocal prowess while pushing the limits of the genre. Having already performed with the likes of Musae, Catatonic is sure to deliver audiences a thrilling concert experience as they share their love for a cappella. And kittens.

Members:  Steve Ryan, John Robinson, Andrew Leonard, Tammy Parkinson, Tye Tavaras, Carrie Leonard


New York

Quintessential Five was founded in autumn of 2012, in the Republic of Georgia. The idea of creating such an amazing ensemble of young singers who perform outrageously complicated arrangements with surprising ease belongs to Buka Kartozia. The repertoire of the group mainly consists of ancient Georgian folklore and classical music with jazz. Each and every piece stands out with rhythmical difficulty and harmonic complexity. The level of stage presence and performance of the group reaches the highest levels of professionalism and leaves audiences astonished.

The Quintessential Five were winners at the Leipzig A Cappella Festival (Germany) in June 2013, And took the Second place at Internationat A Cappella Competition Graz (Austria) in July 2013. The Quintessential Five are excited to make their U.S. debut on the Harmony Sweepstakes stage.

Members: Anna Doiashvili, Salome Dolidze, Elene Dolidze, Giorgi Toradze, Papuna Sharikadze


Pacific Northwest

SeaNote is an a cappella band that came together in mid-2013 from two different college a cappella groups at the University of Washington in Seattle (Furmata & Awaaz). The quintet strives to put a fresh and unique spin on new and old Top 40 hits through incorporating each members musical niche, whether it be classical, jazz, hip hop, rap, pop, alt-rock, or soul. SeaNote loves making great music, having an awesome time, and hopes to entertain a cappella enthusiasts everywhere! You can catch SeaNote year round performing at local gigs, UW functions and charity events all over the Greater Seattle Area.

Members:  Amanda Tran, Isaiah Lin, Shaheer Aftab, Michael Kibbe, and Lucy Liu


Your Emcee for the Evening

Angie Doctor - A studio singer and live performer who began her career in Chicago doing commercials,  voice-overs and recording projects, Angie Doctor has been a part of the Bay Area vocal music community since 1995. Angie is the soprano in the Bay Area based jazz vocal quartet Clockwork. Angie's most recent news is that as of last Fall, she is the new Girl Bob in The Bobs.  Her vocal work can be heard on a number of recordings including her own original songs, as a guest artist on Richard Bob Greene’s solo album “Low? Bottom? Me?” and on the newly released Clockwork CD, “Every Voice Counts”. She has performed with Sufjan Stevens, Sweet Honey in the Rock, John Zorn, Meredith Monk, and is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated PM Singers. Angie has brought her extensive experience in solo and small-group harmony singing to workshops and festivals as a judge and clinician over the past fifteen years.

The Judges

Bill Hare has been a full-time producer/recording engineer for over 30 years, and is recognized as a pioneer in bringing pop/rock production techniques to recorded contemporary a cappella. Over the decades, Bill has recorded and/or mixed acclaimed albums for some of the best-known Contemporary A Cappella groups around the globe - from The Swingle Singers to The King’s Singers in the UK, Basix and Vocal Line in Denmark, Italy's Cluster, The Ghost Files, and Maybe6ix to name a few, as well as groups from dozens of other countries from Australia to Zambia. Of course, at the same time he also covered his home base from California, working with top American acts including Pentatonix, Street Corner Symphony, NoTa, +4dB, Duwende, The Backbeats, The House Jacks, Five o’Clock Shadow, and many more.

Bill is the world’s most awarded individual Contemporary A Cappella producer, including more than 70 appearances on BOCA, over 100 CARA nominations, over 30 albums in the RARB "Picks of the Year" lists, and 11 "DeeBee" awards since 1987 in the Vocal Jazz category from Downbeat Magazine. In 2011, Bill received a Grammy Award for his work on Christopher Tin’s “Calling All Dawns”.


Raz Kennedy has been performing and recording as a vocalist, vocal coach and producer in the Bay Area since 1980. His performance credits include six years as a founding member of Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra, as well as projects with June Watanabe Performance Ensemble, Rebeca Mauleon, Bob Ostertag, Bonnie Hayes, Linda Tillery, George Coates Performance Works, and Oberlin Dance Collective.

His recording and live credits include backup, ensemble or lead vocals for or with hit song producer Narada Michael Walden, Al Jarreau, Todd Rundgren, Whitney Houston, Bobby McFerrin, The Bobs, Mickey Hart, Kenny Loggins, Rhiannon, Sting, Earl Klugh and many others. He has also sung on projects for film, video, television and radio.

As a vocal coach and vocal producer, Raz has multiple Gold and Platinum records to his credit. Clients include: Adam Duritz and members of Counting Crows, Grammy Award-winning artists Los Tigres Del Norte, Rancid, Dreamworks recording artist Davey Havoc of AFI, Aaron Carter, Chantelle Paige of Flipsyde, Caroline Vreeland, A-Teens, Lavay Smith, Hilary Duff, Nicole Riw, members of Metallica, Victoria Theodore (Stevie Wonder Band), Brett Anderson of The Donnas, Joe Bagale, Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, Jerry Harrison (founding member of Talking Heads), and many more.

Raz presently produces, writes and arranges vocals for live and studio projects. Also on the faculty at The Jazzschool in Berkeley and Blue Bear School of American Music in San Francisco.

. Craig Knudsen spent 18 years as a performer / Composer / arranger with the EDLOS (the 1989 Harmony Sweepstakes National Champions). In 2001 Craig expanded his horizons to include representation of other performing artists and opened his own talent agency, Knudsen Productions, LLC. He is currently the exclusive North American Artist Representative for the multi Grammy Award winning a cappella legends, the Swingle Singers; the multi Grammy nominated early music vocal ensemble, Stile Antico; the Bay Area's favorite women's vocal ensemble, KITKA; the legendary BOBS! (also Grammy nominated); the 2012 Harmony Sweeps National Champions, Six Appeal; one of the rising stars of a cappella, the British ensemble, VOCES8; and finally, the newest addition to the roster, the British a cappella ensemble, The Songmen. For 11 years Craig also served as the music director of the Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Project.

In a new venture, Knudsen Productions is working in collaboration with IKON Arts (UK) as the US liaison for the London A Cappella Festival and the London A Cappella International Summer School.
A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Craig's performance credits span a wide variety of musical styles and performance mediums. As an opera and classical singer, he has performed leading roles with Pocket Opera, Mendocino Music Festival Opera, West Bay Opera, Berkeley Opera, Las Vegas Opera, Pacific Repertory Opera and the Austin Opera in Austin, TX. Craig originally came to the SF Bay Area in 1982 to join the San Francisco Mime Troupe and toured extensively with the Troupe in the U.S. and Canada. Craig continues to teach private voice lessons out of this studio in Berkeley, CA..

Stephanie Lawson is the bass of the 2014 Sweet Adelines International Champion quartet, LoveNotes. LoveNotes competed at the Harmony Sweepstakes Nationals in 2009, where they claimed Audience Favorite but ultimately took second to another Sweet Adeline quartet, Maxx Factor. Stephanie has been singing barbershop since 2007, prior to which she sang solo and in accompanied groups from a very young age. With LoveNotes, Stephanie has traveled around the US performing and teaching barbershop educational workshops, and in 2008 had the opportunity to perform overseas at Barbershop in Germany (BinG!). LoveNotes' latest album, From the Heart, was released in April and was produced by Grammy Award winner Bill Hare. A far cry from the country singer she dreamed of becoming, Stephanie has fallen in love with a cappella – especially barbershop.

Annie Stocking is a veteran of the Bay Area music scene with 35 years experience as a professional vocalist, producer, and teacher. She has toured or recorded with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Neil Young, Van Morrison, George Benson, Whitney Houston, Santana, Todd Rundgren and many others. Her a cappella credits include performing on the classic Bobs recording “Cover The Songs Of.” As the first singers' representative in the Bay Area for SAG and AFTRA, she contracted most of the Bay Area singers for jingles, film, and other session work for many years. She continues to arrange harmony vocals and produces lead and back-up vocals for many independent artists and is a highly regarded voice teacher..

Join us at The Afterglow

Meet the groups after the show. Beer, pizza and song in the Villa Inn bar
Minutes from the Auditorium - 1600 Lincoln Avenue - San Rafael


Interested in Competing?

We are always seeking groups who would like to compete in our events.

Groups of any style are welcome, but you must have between 3 and 8 members. We have a rule book which explains many of the details of the event, which you can see by clicking here. All groups must audition in order to compete. Generally this is done by sending a current tape and photo, although live auditions are sometimes arranged. The purpose of the audition is to make sure the group is appropriate for the Festival and to help the Director determine the performance order. If a group has competed previously, the audition process may be waived.

How to enter


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The Marin Center

The Frank Lloyd Wright designed Marin County Civic Center is a national-and state-designated historic landmark. Wright's 770th commission, the Civic Center is the last and one of the most important works by this internationally acclaimed architect who has been described as "one of the most creative architectural geniuses of all time" and "the most original architect the United States has ever produced." The Marin Center is an outstanding venue for entertainment, meetings, and special events. The 55-acre campus includes a park and a 14-acre lagoon. Photos - More photos - Wikipedia

The Marin Veterans Auditorium is located at 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael, California. There is plenty of free parking. Google map - Directions - A virtual tour of the venue


Boston - Chicago - Los Angeles - New York - Pacific North West - San Francisco - Washington DC
NATIONAL FINALS
Saturday, May 17th, 2014 - 8PM
Marin Center, San Rafael, California
Tickets available at Marin Center Box Office - 415-499-6800
Note there is no service charge on tickets bought in person at the box office

2015 Schedule:

Boston - TBA New York - March 21
Chicago - March 21 Pacific NW - March 14
Los Angeles - April 4 San Francisco - March 14
Mid-Atlantic - March 14

National Finals - Saturday May 16, 2015

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